For good donor stewardship, it is essential for a multi-person nonprofit development team to coordinate their fundraising efforts and create a culture of staff collaboration: [Read more…]
Over the last year, I’ve heard from people at several organizations who know they need to develop an annual, individual giving program, but feel they don’t have enough donors to get started.
Some of these organizations are relatively new. Although they’ve had start-up grants that allowed them to get up-and-running, they understand that they need long-term support from individual donors to sustain them for the long haul.
On the other end of the spectrum are organizations that have been around for quite some time. They have some individual donors they’ve acquired here and there, but because they haven’t had a program in place to keep them connected, their donor pool has grown stale instead of stronger.
What should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? Where do you start? [Read more…]
People relate and respond to stories.
People have a stronger emotional response to stories of individuals or families than they do to stories about large abstract groups of people such as “the poor in our community” or “disadvantaged children at our school.”
This is particularly important to remember when you sit down to write your appeal letter. [Read more…]
Let’s say you are working on closing out your last renewal appeal evaluation. You’ve done all your calculations. You know your exact net income, average gift, and response rate. So now what do you do with this information? How do you know if your response rate is any good? [Read more…]
The start of each new year, when year-end fundraising fury has calmed and last minute contributions have slowed to a trickle, is a great time to conduct your annual fund evaluation for the prior year.
It’s the time to see how you did, celebrate your successes, to set your goals and plan for the year to come. Schedule this on your annual fundraising calendar for sometime between February or March.
There are essentially three components of your year-end analysis: [Read more…]
No matter how many donors or prospects you have in your database, figuring out how to cultivate all of them and make them all feel appreciated is a daunting task.
It is normal to feel overwhelmed by donor retention goals, particularly for a small nonprofit trying to stay on top of major donors, event attendees, new donor welcome letters, the list of prospects your board chair just handed you, and on and on it goes.
The best way to start is by focusing on keeping your most loyal donors – loyal in terms of how long they have been supporting your organization, not just the size of their gifts. [Read more…]
To stamp or not to stamp? That is the question today.
When I first began managing direct mail for nonprofits, I found navigating the world of bulk mail truly painful. One particularly vexing question: Of the different options for nonprofit rate bulk mail, which was best for my fundraising mailing?
Here’s what I learned. [Read more…]
Are you excluding some donors from some of your fundraising mailings? If not, you should be.
Each appeal that you write should be carefully planned and written with certain groups of donors in mind. Yes, it is more work. But the more relevant your appeals are to each donor, the better return you will get from your appeal. Even more importantly, you’ll have a better relationship with your donors.
Start by taking inventory of these groups of donors… [Read more…]
Recently, several well-respected fundraising thinkers have been lamenting over nonprofit’s lack of focus on improving widespread abysmal retention rates. Roger Craver, for example, wisely argues that donor retention is the holy grail of fundraising and that charities ignore retention at their peril.
Yet it is practically impossible to work on improving retention rates if you don’t even know what yours are.
I suspect this is the case for many, many nonprofits. If you are one of them, time to start paying attention.
We’ve been talking a lot about segmenting and appropriately managing your donors. But if you have only a small number of donors, you need to have appropriate tools to in order to manage those donors. Let me just say this right now: Excel and MS Word or Access are NOT appropriate tools. Even if you are using a donor database of some sort, the technology may be horribly outdated and may not have the features that a sophisticated development plan needs to be successful and efficient.
But with so many products out there and with some products coming and going, where do you start? How do you figure out what software is best for you? [Read more…]